Ability to Benefit (ATB)

Federal Regulations require that students have an ‘Ability-to-Benefit’ from post-secondary education before they can receive Federal Student Aid, which typically refers to earning a high school diploma or equivalent, being enrolled in a degree seeking program, and not concurrently enrolled in elementary or secondary school.

You may not have been required to provide a copy of an official high school transcript or GED certificate for admissions purposes to NMSU, however, if you do not meet one of the other ATB options, you will be required to submit either of these documents to be eligible for Federal Student Aid.

How do students demonstrate Ability to Benefit?

  • Have earned a high school diploma. This can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma.
    • An official High School transcript with a graduation date must be submitted to the NMSU Admissions Office.
    • If a Foreign High School transcript is not available, a copy of the ‘Secondary School Leaving Certificate’ is acceptable and must be submitted to the NMSU Financial Aid Office.
  • Have passed a General Education Development (GED) exam.
    • An official GED transcript must be submitted to the NMSU Admissions Office.
  • Have passed a State-authorized exam that the State recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma.
    • An offical copy of the state certificate or transcript must be submitted to the NMSU Admissions Office.
  • Transfer students: have an academic transcript showing the student has successfully completed at least a two-year program.
    • A minimum of 60 credit transfer hours that have been accepted at NMSU and posted to your student record.
  • Homeschool: the student has completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting that is treated as a homeschool or private school under State law.
    • If you were homeschooled in a state where the state law requires you to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschool, you must provide an official copy of the credential to the NMSU Admissions Office.
    • If you were homeschooled in a state where state law does not require you to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschool, a transcript or the equivalent, signed by the parent or guardian, that list the secondary school courses the student completed and includes a statement that the student successfully completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting must be provided to the NMSU Financial Aid Office.
  • If a student was admitted to any Title IV eligible institution prior to July 1, 2012 and either
    • Completed a minimum of 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours that are applicable toward a degree or certificate offered by the postsecondary institution; or
    • Passes an independently administered Department of Education approved ATB test.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances

Students, who have not earned a valid high school diploma or its recognized equivalent, may qualify for Title IV aid under one of the ATB alternatives as long as they meet both of the following criteria:

  • The student must be admitted on or after July 1, 2012; and
  • The student must also be enrolled simultaneously in an eligible Career Pathway Program.

ATB alternatives are:

  • Pass an independently administered Department of Education approved ATB test.
  • Complete at least 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours that are ap­plicable toward a degree or certificate offered by the postsecondary institution.

Consequences

Students will lose Federal Student Aid eligibility until they can provide documentation to satisfy this eligibility requirement.

Contact

If you have any questions, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor.